In the past three months, there have been at least 4 cases of fire incidents in Singapore which involved households, factories and vehicles. Luckily, there were no fatalities in these fire emergencies, though many have been injured. Nobody has complete control over the occurrence of such fire incidents. However, each and every one of us is responsible for preventing fires from happening and knowing what to do when it does. These calamities, whether natural or man-made, have the ability to destroy properties and lives. What can you do to prevent it from happening? How should you respond when it does?
Being trapped in a fire situation and having to get out of a burning building is extremely tough, especially when your mind will be in a state of panic. Not everyone has the ability to stay calm and think on their feet when such pressing times occur. Hence, it is extremely important to prepare yourself and understand what you have to do before any emergencies happen. Here are some of the precautions that can be undertaken:Make sure you know the evacuation plan and map
1. Make sure you know the evacuation plan and map
In workplaces, there is often an evacuation system implemented. Who should you listen for instructions when an emergency happens? When and where should you evacuate to? What kind of announcements should you look out for? The reason why companies have fire drills is so that everyone in the building understands exactly how the whole emergency procedure will play out and reduce the state of helplessness and disorientation when an emergency really occurs. Pay attention to these drills!
2. Do not attempt to collect and bring all your belongings with you.
This is a common mistake made by many. People often do not take fire alarms seriously when they do not visually see the fire happening. However, every second count in a fire emergency. You will regret your decision to collect all your belongings when you are trapped in the building because it is too late for you to leave through the escape route. Moreover, it will be a hindrance to everyone when your bags or belongings block the paths of others who are also trying to escape.
3. Know how to check if an escape route is still plausible
In the rush of escaping, do not simply open any door you see. This is extremely dangerous as you do not know where the spread of the fire has reached. You could be exposing yourself and everyone around you directly to the fire if you simply open doors mindlessly. What you should do is to touch the door and door knob to feel for its temperature. If the contact feels too hot, do not open the door as it is likely that the fire is near that door. Immediately seek an alternative route.
4. Know what to do when there is too much smoke
Sometimes, the smoke is more dangerous than the fire itself. Whether you are in your house, a restaurant, or your work building, what you must do is lie low and crawl toward an exit. If your building has an engineered smoke control system in place, the smoke will be directed away from the escape routes and help prevent everyone from excessive smoke inhalation. Otherwise, remember not to run blindly but crouch down or crawl your way out as the intensity of smoke is lower at the bottom near the floor.
5. Ensure you have a fire extinguisher near you
This is extremely important and useful when the fire is contained in a small area. If you manage to discover the source of the fire quickly and it is not strong, you should use a fire extinguisher to control the fire before it spreads further. Simply having one is not enough, you have to make you understand how to use it as well. This will be useful in a home as well where fires usually start out small.
6. Install a small fixed fire protection system in your premises
Alternative, you can also install on inexpensive fire protection system if you have a smaller premises to protect for fire. These systems are usually handy to install and are automatic operation in case of fire, with minimum maintenance needed.